Dressed in the colours of the late Seve Ballesteros, Europe were fittingly fighting for all they were worth on the final day of the Ryder Cup in Chicago.
But after four hours' play they were still needing nearly everything to go their way to have a chance.
The four-point overnight deficit became three when Luke Donald beat Masters champion Bubba Watson 2&1 in the top game before Scot Paul Lawrie made it 10-8 by beating FedEx Cup winner Brandt Snedeker 5&3.
"It was a big honour for me that Ollie had enough trust in me to go out and get that first point," Donald said. "That means a lot and I did what I had to do.
"It certainly helped having some local support. It wasn't totally going Bubba's way - I felt a lot of love from the crowd."
World number one Rory McIlroy had been pegged back to all square after 12 holes but birdied the 14th and 15th on his way to completing a 2&1 victory which made it 10-9, and Poulter won the final two holes to beat Simpson and make it four wins out of four.
Parity only lasted a few minutes before Dustin Johnson completed a 3&2 win over Nicolas Colsaerts, but that was before a sensational finish from Justin Rose.
One down to Mickelson with two play, Rose holed from 40ft on the 17th for a birdie two - drawing a sporting round of applause and a thumbs-up from his opponent - and then from 14ft for another on the 18th to snatch victory and level the scores at 11-11.
America went 12-11 up when Zach Johnson finished off McDowell on the 17th and they were back on course for victory with Furyk and Dufner ahead, Stricker level after Kaymer went in the lake on 13 and Woods going ahead for the first time with a par on the same hole. They all had to finish things off, however, and Europe clung to a glimmer of hope.