They got there in the end. During an increasingly tense, nail-nibbling afternoon here at Marco Simone, Team Europe seemed to be stuck on the 14-point mark for so long, the scoreboards displaying the state of affairs in the 44th Ryder Cup were starting to gather a light covering of stoor.

The search for that ½ point to push them over the winning line almost became as extensive as an excavation in a site of great historical significance in Rome toon centre. It arrived eventually.

Rickie Fowler’s generous concession to Tommy Fleetwood on the 16th – would you have given it? - left the Englishman two-up with two to play and with a guaranteed half-point in his pocket. The celebrations could begin, even though the match would go on.

Fleetwood would eventually win 3&1. After the raucous, rancorous scenes of Saturday night, Fowler’s signal to Fleetwood to pick his marker up on that 16th hole was an admirable nod to the honourable golfing spirit.

Europe’s overall margin of victory was 16 ½ - 11 ½. It was a seventh straight success on home soil and an eighth in the last 11 stagings overall. The USA’s drought on this side of the pond, which stretches back to 1993, goes on. Even the record books are becoming parched.

The Americans, who had been on the backfoot all weekend after that demoralising first day, mounted a spirited, defiant cavalry charge on Sunday and gave those of a European persuasion plenty of heebie-jeebies as things got decidedly tight.

“It was stressful,” gasped the European skipper, Luke Donald, whose methodical, meticulous approach has paid mighty dividends. “At one point I was looking at the board, wondering how we get to 14½ points.” Ultimately, the daunting five-point deficit the visitors had to overcome proved insurmountable. They needed a miracle but miracles don’t come around too often.

After thumping Europe 19-9 in 2021 and sparking bold, confident predictions of dominance for years to come, the US inquests, post-mortems and raking of coals will roar on. For Europe, there were cheers and tears as emotional outpourings flowed like wine at an Emperor’s banquet. This was a true team effort.

The walloping at Whistling Straits had been avenged in style. “Not many people gave us a chance, especially two years ago,” added Donald. “We proved them wrong."

Saturday night’s stormy shenanigans and stooshies – Rory McIlroy had been involved in heated exchanges with US caddie Joe LaCava if you’ve been hiding in a crypt for the weekend - had garnished the tussle with great dollops of spice.

The late US rally on Saturday had given the visitors fresh purpose. The controversy, meanwhile, had given Europe added passion. They were already in a strong position. “It gave the whole team a bit of fire in our bellies,” said McIlroy, who won four out of his five matches in a talismanic role and swatted aside Sam Burns 3&1.

With Europe requiring just four points from 12 matches to seize the cup back, the Americans needed to be out of the traps like a whippet. In the early stages, though, it was European blue on the board. Zach Johnson, the US skipper and a stout man of the church, must have been tempted to turn the air blue as he surveyed the scene.

The brilliant Viktor Hovland inched Europe towards their goal with a 4&3 win over Collin Morikawa. The top match, a prize fight between heavyweights Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler, took on huge importance as it ebbed and flowed.

Scheffler, one-up with two to play, had a chance to deliver a knockout blow on the 17th but his birdie putt to win stayed up. The world No 1 then got into trouble playing the last and when Rahm cosied a vast putt from over 80-feet to gimme distance, it was enough to win the hole and grab a highly valuable half.

McIlroy and Hatton added to the European tally but the US were not lying down. Patrick Cantlay beat Justin Rose while the lower order was swinging in America’s favour. Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka and Xander Schauffelle all plundered points while the excellent Max Homa held on for a one-hole win against Matt Fitzpatrick on the last despite taking a penalty drop for an unplayable lie.

It was all still in the balance but Fowler’s trip into the water and concession to Fleetwood finally took Europe to the promised land. Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre, in the anchor match with US Open champion Wyndham Clark, could breathe easy and he tidied up a fine 2&1 win to gild the lily.

In Rome, Team Europe came, they saw, they conquered.