The Continental Team earned 5 1/2 of an available 10 points in the Sunday singles matches, but it was not enough to overcome the four-point advantage that the GB&I squad had amounted throughout the week.
'This has been very much a team effort,' said Colin Montgomerie, the GB&I team captain. 'Obviously there is personal pride involved within the team, but overall we needed 13 1/2 points and we got that in the end. It was a harder battle than we thought and the European team actually won the singles, the only series they won. But at the same time we had enough of a lead to cope and I thank all the team members who came through.'
Seve Ballesteros, the Continental team captain, defeated his GB&I counterpart, Montgomerie, for the second time in as many competitions. The Spaniard beat Montgomerie, 1-up, in the opening match for a perfect 2-0 record in this year's Seve Trophy.
The teams traded 4-and-3 wins in the next two matches as GB&I's Darren Clarke bested Ryder Cup teammate Thomas Bjorn while the Continental team's Miguel Angel Jimenez answered by trouncing Paul Casey.
Robert Karlsson from the Continental team beat 1999 British Open champion Paul Lawrie 1-up to cut into the GB&I team's lead.
Lee Westwood of England defeated Raphael Jacquelin of France 3-and-2 while Paul McGinley of Ireland closed out his match with Mathias Gronberg, winning 4-and-3. The pair of victories put the GB&I team within one-half point of the trophy with five matches remaining.
Padraig Harrington finished off Jose Maria Olazabal from the Continental team to get the winning point for the GB&I squad. The Irishman from nearby Dublin birdied the 12th hole to go 3-up and held on the rest of the way as he closed out the Spaniard on the 16th hole.
'We needed seven matches to get into a play-off and at one point it was looking very close to doing that,' said Ballesteros. 'But unfortunately things switch around a little bit on the back nine and they won. I guess the British and Irish team played a little bit better and perhaps they were a little bit more lucky.'
Andrew Oldcorn from the GB&I team was 1-up through 15 holes against Sweden's Niclas Fasth but the Swede won the 16th hole with a birdie to square the match. The players parred the remaining two holes to halve their match and earn one-half point for each team.
The Continental team won the final two matches on Sunday. Thomas Levet from France beat Steve Webster 2-and-1 and Alex Cejka pounded Ian Woosnam in the anchor match, 5-and-4.
Full scores from the Seve Trophy