English duo Paul Casey and Luke Donald hit back to clinch the World Cup by one shot in Seville.
-31 England (Casey/Donald)
-30 Spain (Garcia/Jimenez)
-28 Ireland (Harrington/McGinley)
-25 South Africa (Immelman/Sabbatini)
-21 USA (Verplank/Tway)
-19 Wales (Price/Dredge), Australia (Leaney/ O'Hern)
-14 Scotland (Forsyth/Drummond)
The pair trailed Spain by one at the start of the day but fired a closing alternate-shot 64 for 31 under to overhaul the local favourites.
Spain's Sergio Garcia and Miguel Angel Jimenez carded 66 but their challenge sank in the lake on the 16th.
Ireland's Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley ended third on 28 under with South Africa three shots futher back.
Garcia and Jimenez, who carded 61 in the third round to go top, were one shot adrift after 15 but fell back after a bogey on the par-five 16th when Garcia found the water with his approach and then missed the par putt.
But a birdie putt from Jimenez on the 18th made Casey hole his five-foot bogey putt for the win.
"I don't mind how long they are but to have a putt to win the World Cup is fantastic," said Casey, who sank seven of the
nine birdie putts - four of them from over 15 feet.
Casey's Ryder Cup colleague Donald, 26, said: "All I had to do was get it on the green and Paul would hole it.
"The 16th was a big turning point for us. A two-shot swing gave us the cushion we needed but Sergio and Miguel pushed us all the way.
"A friend sent a text message saying that a year ago on Monday 15 men came
back with a World Cup [England's rugby team], and that was inspiration for us.
"To win a World Golf Championship event with a high-quality field is great and it will make my off-season all that much sweeter.
England's previous winners of the World Cup were Nick Faldo and David Carter in 1998.
Casey (left) and Donald played in the 1999 Walker Cup together
Casey and Donald, who both came up through the US collegiate system and are based in America, played Walker Cup golf together, beating the USA in Nairn in 1999.
"We are great friends and we trust each other's games. It's one of those partnerships that just clicks," said Casey.
The 27-year-old's week was marred by press reaction to anti-American comments attributed to him in a Sunday newspaper.
Casey insisted his words were taken in the wrong spirit but his equipment sponsors Acushnet, makers of Titleist clubs and balls, have decided not to renew his contract at the end of the year.
"It's definitely affected me," said Casey, who has an American coach and girlfriend and lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.
"I'm still upset with what's happened and feel it's unfair. I feel I've handled it professionally, which I always will do. I'm still looking forward to going back to the States next week.
"I hope the crowds in America will be very receptive - but I don't know whether they will
be. I'm worried about it.
"I'll probably try to repair any damage I can."
The English duo will split the £778,000 first-place money after alternate rounds of fourballs and foursomes in the last of the year's four World Golf Championship events.
The USA pairing of Scott Verplank and Bob Tway finished in joint seventh tied on 21 under alongside Germany and Sweden.
Wales' Phillip Price and Bradley Dredge ended on 19 under, while Scotland's Alistair Forsyth and Scott Drummond were 14 under.