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Gordon Banks: The World Cup hero who made the ‘greatest ever save’

His status as an all-time great may have been sealed at the 1966 World Cup, but it was the save Gordon Banks produced to deny Pele four years later which became his defining moment on the international stage. The goalkeeper’s spectacular stop in a group-stage clash with Brazil during England’s defence of the trophy in Mexico is widely regarded as one of the greatest saves of all time. Banks, who has died at the age of 81, flung himself to his right and, in a feat which seemed to defy the laws of physics, somehow managed with one hand not only to keep Pele’s powerful downward header out, but also flick the ball over the bar. The moment enhanced yet further the reputation of a man who, as an ever present in the triumphant 1966 campaign, made it through to the closing stages of the semi-final...

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