Europe had won the previous three matches but this one ended up in a resounding 16 1/2-11 1/2 victory for the hosts.
Faldo’s decisions were criticised throughout, none more so than the order in which he sent his players out for the final day singles.
Europe trailed by two points after the first two days but Faldo chose to leave Padraig Harrington, the Open and USPGA champion, until last despite the risk his result would be irrelevant.
Faldo put on a brave face afterwards, saying: “We are talking about fractions between these two teams. If we could get it to the last four guys – that was the risk I guess we took.
“We gave our heart and soul. The golf was fantastic and this particular week they have done us. Everybody has given 100 per cent and that’s all you can do.”
Azinger said: “My captain’s picks played well. I’m real proud of them. The pressure is always on them.
“Today was an incredible day. The crowds were beautiful and they were well-behaved, and the European team and players, I’m proud of them. They really showed a lot of class in defeat. I’m just so honoured that I was able to be here and do this.”
Europe reclaimed the title at Celtic Manor in 2010 and have won four of the five editions since 2008. The delayed 43rd Ryder Cup will begin at Whistling Straits on Friday.