Gordon Banks, 1966 World Cup hero for England, dead at 81

Gordon Banks, the goalkeeper for England's 1966 World Cup soccer championship team, died Tuesday, the BBC reported. He was 81.

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"It is with great sadness that we announce that Gordon passed away peacefully overnight," Banks’ family said in a statement. "We are devastated to lose him but we have so many happy memories and could not have been more proud of him."

Banks was named FIFA goalkeeper of the year six times. He was in the net when England defeated West Germany 4-2 at Wembley Stadium in the 1966 World Cup final on July, 30, 1966.

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His signature moment came during the 1970 World Cup, when he made a "wonder save" against Brazil soccer great Pele, the BBC reported.

Born Dec. 30, 1937, in Sheffield, England, Banks won the League Cup with Stoke and Leicester before retiring in 1973, the network reported.

"Gordon was a fantastic goalkeeper, without doubt one of the best England has ever had. I was proud to call him a teammate,” Sir Bobby Charlton told the BBC. “Obviously, we shared that great day in 1966 but it was more than that.

"Even though I was on the pitch and have seen it many times since, I still don't know how he saved that header from Pele."

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