World Cup 1966 English goalkeeper Gordon Banks dies aged 81 | News | DW | 12.02.2019
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World Cup 1966 English goalkeeper Gordon Banks dies aged 81

England's goalkeeper in their successful 1966 World Cup final against West Germany has died aged 81. Gordon Banks is best known for a save against Brazil's Pele in the 1970 World Cup.

Gordon Banks played in every game of the 1966 World Cup in England which finished with the 4-2 victory over West Germany in the Wembley final.

"It is with great sadness that we announce that Gordon passed away peacefully overnight," his family said on Tuesday.

Geoff Hurst, who scored a hat trick in the World Cup final in 1966, tweeted: "Very sad to hear the news that Gordon has died. One of the very greatest."

Between 1963 and 1972, Banks won 73 caps for England and made nearly 200 appearances for his team Stoke, a city in the English midlands.

He made what was later called the "save of the century" against Brazilian star Pele at the 1970 World Cup.

His professional career began with Chesterfield in 1958 before he moved to Leicester City the following year. He won his first England cap in 1963, four years before he joined Stoke. He lost an eye in a car crash in 1972, which put an end to his career.

Swan song in America

However, five years later, Banks made a comeback, signing on with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the North American Soccer League (NASL), which at the time featured a number of international stars, including Pele and West Germany's Franz Beckenbauer, both of whom were playing with the New York Cosmos.

Despite only having sight in one eye, the then-40-year-old Banks was named NASL Goalkeeper of the Year in 1977 after conceding just 29 goals in 26 matches, which was the best defensive record in a league in which there were a number of rule changes to encourage offense. Banks retired for good after playing 11 games for Fort Lauderdale the following season. 

jm/lw (Reuters, dpa)

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