England's World Cup campaign got off to an inauspicious start as they were held by Mexico in their opening game of Group B in the Wolfsburg Arena.
Hope Powell's side settled after a nervy start and were rewarded for their early dominance through Fara Williams's looping header on 21 minutes.
Mexico then drew level against the run of play when Monica Ocampo's speculative 30-yard effort crept in.
Thereafter England failed to fire, with Eniola Aluko missing two fine chances.
It is a draw that will feel a little like a defeat for England after they dominated long periods of the game.
Afterwards Powell said: "No excuses, we have played better and we will have to play better if we want to stay in this tournament."
She added: "The goal flew in, didn't it, but to concede the way we did was bitterly disappointing. We would have expected Karen [Bardsley, England's goalkeeper] to have saved that.
"We dominated up until that point and she was devastated to have let that goal in. It let them back into the game but at least we did not lose."
The last time England played Mexico, back in 2005, they ran out 5-0 winners - but their opponents have improved greatly since then.
England went into the game as favourites, along with Japan, to qualify from Group B.
But Maribel Dominguez caused an early scare when she threatened to break in behind the England defence only to be halted by a fine Faye White tackle inside the area.
However, Mexico were on the back foot for long periods in the opening half hour. The influential Kelly Smith fired inches wide with a left-footer from 20 yards, while Karen Carney saw a curled effort deflected behind.
And it was from the resulting corner that England broke the deadlock, Carney's pin-point delivery being met by the head of Williams, who directed a fine header into the top corner.
Rachel Yankey and then Williams were denied by Cecilia Santiago, at 16 the youngest keeper to play in either a men's or women's international tournament, as England controlled proceedings.
Then Mexico drew level in the 33rd minute through Ocampo, although England keeper Karen Bardsley should have done better in dealing with the forward's 30-yard effort which dipped into the top corner.
It was just the tonic Mexico needed and the match became a far more even contest.
England maintained an edge in possession and territory, with Aluko wasting two golden opportunities to restore the lead - first missing the ball entirely from six yards and then shooting wide from Smith's intelligent cut-back.
Smith, too, was inches away from bundling in a winner in the last 10 minutes but just failed to get on the end of Ellen White's cross.
So Mexico got the draw they set out for and, with tournament favourites Germany awaiting the runners-up of this group in the quarter-finals, it means England have plenty of work to do in their two remaining group matches.
In the day's earlier game, England's Group B opponents Japan beat New Zealand 2-1, Yuki Nagasato and Aya Miyama firing home either side of Amber Hearne's reply for the Kiwis.