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Greece

50 Years Since the Historic Panathinaikos-Ajax Game in Wembley Stadium

ATHENS — An online event to celebrate relations between Greece and the Netherlands included clips of the historic European Cup football (soccer) final of 1971 between Ajax and Panathinaikos in Wembley Stadium.

Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias, who attended the event "Friendship and sports history between Greece and the Netherlands: 50 years since the Wembley final between Ajax and Panathinaikos," spoke of reliving the joy of watching the as a child.

"I remember our endless pride at having become a European team," Dendias recalled, adding, "We lost to a tremendous team, we were not bitter in the least." Ajax won the following two cups, "changing football in its entirety," he said.

Dendias congratulated Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Greece Stella Ronner-Grubacic over her appointment as adviser to Secretary-General for Gender and Diversity at the European External Action Service, which was announced by the EU's chief foreign affairs officer Josep Borrell in April. He also congratulated her for her contributions to the relations between Greece and the Netherlands.

Ambassador Grubacic recalled the motto of Ferenc Puskas, the Hungarian coach of Panathinaikos at the time, who had said, "They are 11, and so are we," which she said represented the idea that everything is possible despite the odds, and this was also true in diplomacy. The current national football team has a Dutch coach, she said, proving a further connection between the two countries.

Also attending the event was one of the original Panathinaikos team, Aristidis Kamaras, who said, "Greek football was amateur football, we were all Greeks, it was an entirely Greek team," and said the distance between amateur and professional football was great.

Ajax veteran Arie Haan, who had scored in the 1971 game, said the match "was the start of professional football in the Netherlands, and the day he began his career as a professional.

Among other guests, journalist Menios Sakellaropoulos, who coordinated the event, said that the team of Mimis Domazos, Antonis Antoniadis and Kamaras "became part of history, with eleven Greeks reaching the champions cup final against the best team of the world." He said "it was the night that Panathinaikos became Panathinaikos, changing its DNA."

The clips of the game were provided in a video belonging to the national broadcaster ERT's archive.

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