The save of the century: How Gordon Banks stunned the world

England goalkeeper Gordon Banks, who died on Tuesday aged 81, had long known that he would always be remembered for one save in particular. 
After all, he said, it seemed to have usurped winning the World Cup in the minds of almost everyone he spoke to.
It was a group match in 1970 between World Cup holders England and favourites - and eventual winners - Brazil
at the Jalisco stadium in Guadalajara, where 66,843 spectators had packed in to watch the two sides duel in searing sunshine.
As well as helping the #ThreeLions
to glory in 1966, Gordon will be remembered for THAT save against Brazil four years later. A true England legend ??
— England (@England) February 12, 2019
After only 10 minutes, Banks produced a save from Pele that would engrave his name into the annals of footballing history. 
Carlos Alberto threaded the ball forward into the onrushing Jairzinho, who hopped and skipped around Terry Cooper like a triple jumper. The ball bobbled as Jairzinho hit the byline but it only served to help him arc the ball back into the penalty area.
And there, like he always knew to be, was Pele. He soared, transcendental, over the England defence and powered the ball into the ground with a crushing header. 
But Banks, scrambling back across his line, somehow intervened. 
He reached behind his body to claw the ball up away from the line and over his crossbar in one motion. It was beyond instinctive, one of the purest combinations of point-blank speed and agility.
'As I got to my feet I tried to look as nonchalant as possible, as if to say that I make that sort of save all the time,' Banks said to The Observer in 2003. 
Brazil went on to win the game 1-0 with a second half goal from Jairzinho. In a FIFA interview, the Brazilian said the save was the best in World Cup history and that 'everyone in Brazil would agree.'
Yet Banks always said he made better stops.
'That (his best save) was a penalty from Geoff Hurst against Stoke in the League Cup semi-final in 1972,' Banks said in an interview with Sportsmail in 2016.
Banks was England's World Cup winning goalkeeper in 1966. That same year he was named FIFA's Goalkeeper of the Year, an honour he went on to claim for six years straight.
He always knew, though, that June 7, 1970 was the day everyone would talk about when his name was mentioned.
'It's something that people will always remember me for,' Banks told FourFourTwo in 2012. 
'They won't remember me for winning the World Cup, it'll be for that save. That's how a big a thing it is. People just want to talk about that save.'
Pele said the same.
'From the moment I headed it, I was sure it had gone in,' the Brazil legend recalled in 2008. 'After I headed the ball, I had already began to jump to celebrate the goal. 
'Then I looked back and I couldn't believe it hadn't gone in. I have scored more than a thousand goals in my life and the thing people always talk to me about is the one I didn't score.'
And now they will, perhaps more than ever before. Rightly so.  
Brazil v England, June 7 1970
GK: Felix
RB: Carlos Alberto (c)
CB: Piazza
CB: Brito
LB: Everaldo
CM: Clodoaldo
CM: Paulo Cezar
RW: Jairzinho
LW: Rivelino 
CF 9 Tostao 
CF 10 Pele 
Jairzinho, 59 
ENGLAND (4-1-2-1-2)
GK: Gordon Banks
RB: Tommy Wright
CB: Brian Labone
CB: Bobby Moore (c)
LB: Terry Cooper
DM: Alan Mullery
RCM: Alan Ball
AM: Bobby Charlton
LCM: 11 Martin Peters
CF: Geoff Hurst
CF: Francis Lee

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