Posted: Saturday 7th June 2014 at 8:12 am

Pele denied: Today in history: Banks makes the greatest save in World Cup

89ad240x mg gordonbanks55555 Pele denied: Today in history: Banks makes the greatest save in World Cup


On 7 June 1970, England keeper Gordon Banks made the most memorable save in World Cup history, stopping a shot from Pele’s head in the 1970 World Cup.

Cup holders England met Brazil that day in their second match of the group stage. With the match scoreless in the 10th minute, Brazilian right winger Jairzinho collected the ball near the touchline just inside the English half. He sped past left back Terry Cooper and raced toward the box. Just before running out of bounds, he lobbed a long cross to Pelé who was waiting near the far post. Describing the save later, Banks said “Halfway across, I was sure the ball was too high for anyone to reach, but then I saw Pelé. He seemed to climb higher and higher until he got the ball on his forehead, putting everything behind it.”

As Pelé forcefully headed the ball down, Banks sprinted across the goal and stretched out with a diving lunge. The ball bounced just in front of the goal line and Banks got his hand on the rebound, sending the ball up and over. According to Pelé, “He came from nowhere. I headed it perfectly towards one corner of the net while Banks was at the other corner. I was already shouting GOOOL!!! when Banks, like a salmon leaping up a falls, threw himself in the air and managed to tip the ball so it slid over the crossbar. It was an impossible play.”

Brazil went on to win the match 1-0 with a goal from Jairzinho in the 59th minute, but it is fondly remembered in England for that save.

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