1970: Banks’ heroics and Brazil’s hat-trick

England’s Gordon Banks pulled off one of his and the World Cup’s greatest saves in hot and humid Mexico in 1970 and it remains in the game’s folklore decades later.

Theirs forever: Stars of the Brazilian side admire the Jules Rimet trophy. Brazil lifted the coveted World Cup for the third time after defeating Italy 4-1 in the final.   -  THE HINDU ARCHIVES

The goalkeeper walks away with the save of the century and the Black Pearl is left red-faced, albeit, only for the time being.

England’s Gordon Banks pulled off one of his and the World Cup’s greatest saves in hot and humid Mexico in 1970 and it remains in the game’s folklore decades later.

The favourite to defend its title, the English team ran into trouble as it faced an ominous looking Brazil, chasing history itself. The initial period at the Estadio Julisco in Guadalajara belonged to the Samba boys, their speed and skill bamboozling their opponents. Ten minutes into the match, skipper Carlos Alberto sent a pass for Jairzinho to take on the English defence. The Brazilian cut past Leeds legend Terry Cooper, who looked pitiable on the occasion, and the Brazilian essayed a perfect cross over the far post, with Pele lurking free. Subjected to heavy physical assault in the past two World Cups, the Brazilian great, out to claim his revenge, headed the ball in low and to the right and got busy celebrating. The master, though, had underestimated the prowess of arguably the best keeper at that time — the indomitable Gordon Banks. The 6 ft. 1 in. goalie stretched out from post to post and tipped the ball away, diving, with his right hand at full reach.

Host: Mexico

Teams: 16

Matches: 32

Goals: 95

Attendance: 16,04,065

Winner: Brazil

Golden Boot: Gerd Müller (GER) — 10 goals

Best Goalkeeper: Ladislao Mazurkiewicz (URU)

Best Player: Pelé (BRA)

But he, too, couldn’t keep Pele and Co. out for long. Brazil won the encounter 1-0 through a second half goal from Jairzinho after England squandered several opportunities to equalise. Both teams then won their final group games to progress to the knockout stage. The Brazilians claimed their third World Cup title, defeating Italy 4-1 in the final, and with it permanent ownership of the Jules Rimet Trophy. Mario Zagallo achieved the rare double of winning the Cup both as a player (1958 & 1962) and coach (1970).