The history of the national football team from 1929 until 2008, in two parts.
Leonidas Andrianopoulos, Giorgos Darivas, Yannis Papantoniou, Lambis Kouiroukidis, Kostas Karapatis, Kostas Nestoridis, Savvas Papazoglou, Takis Loukanidis, Aristeidis Kamaras, Leandros Symeonidis, Takis Economopoulos, Kostas Polychroniou, Nikos Katsaros, Andreas Bomis, Mimis Domazos, Mimis Papaioannou, Giorgos Koudas, Kostas Eleftherakis, Kostas Aidiniou, Vasilis Hatzipanagis, Antonis Antoniadis, Elias Bazinas, Antonis Panoutsos, Antonis Karpetopoulos, Takis Nikoloudis, Lakis Nikolaou, Manolis Mavrommatis, Nikos Christidis, Vassilis Konstantinou, Christos Sotirakopoulos, Yannis Gounaris, Panagiotis Kelesidis, Dinos Kouis , Nikos Sarganis, Lakis Papaioannou, Tassos Mitropoulos, Giorgos Skartados, Christos Archontidis, Thomas Mavros, Yannis Kallitzakis, Stelios Manolas, Koulis Apostolidis, Alketas Panagoulias, G.Ch Georgiadis, Antonis Nicopolidis, Giorgos Karagounis and Vassilis Tsiartas.
Screenplay/Historical Documentation/Directed by
The names alone are enough to indicate how high the bar was raised; both in terms of quantity and quality.
The shooting lasted for four months. Each speaker was interviewed extensively about his career in a football club (sometimes in some cases 2 or 3) and about his participation in the National team.
This afforded us the unprecedented luxury of having 47 (!!!) separate great interviews on these two combined episodes on the National football team.
This was the main reason Ι had asked for longer versions as I did not want all those great testimonies and materials to be wasted.
And I must emphasize that each interview would last very long and go into great depth. That was how all this valuable material came to be.
On these two episodes, edited by Myrto Lekatsa, we covered, bit by bit, all the chapters in the history of the National team, the very well-known and the unknown; the unpleasant and the triumphant; from the small (and seemingly trivial) to the big and important.
There were first-hand testimonies, there was commentary and analysis from acclaimed sports journalists of all generations and there was, of course, the script of the narration by means of which everything complemented everything else and came together in unity to take the narrative forward.
And, of course, there was no end to the materials; film and television footage, audio recordings, photographs, newspapers, magazines, sketches etc.
This narrative of the history of the National team included the team’s first steps, back in the distant 1930s, and the match between the football team of Makronisos and Olympiacos at the Avenue stadium in 1949. / the Makronisos team was in reality some sort of an informal National team of outcasts, I thought they deserved a place in our story.
Among the many and great moments in the documentaries, I will not forget some special instances:
The thrilling stories of the centenarian, Leonidas Andrianopoulos. He had a distinct ethos, entirely special and lofty, and talking to him felt like traveling back in time,
to the remote 1930s.
The extraordinary testimony of Giorgos Darivas, who spoke about his time on Makronisos and the well-known match, the team of Makronisos played against Olympiacos, in 1949, where, as an exile, he had scored a victory goal against his regular team, Olympiacos.
Kostas Karapatis described eloquently the incident of the players’ boycott, in 1953 (a story that was later made into the film “The Aces of football”, by Vassilis Georgiadis) and then gave a unique account of how he was removed from the coaching team, in 1968, after he made the wife of the all-powerful minister of sports during the Junta, Aslanidis, get off the bus, because she had been smoking
Savvas Papazoglou spoke of a cold winter evening in 1957 at a hotel in Belgrade, before the match against the almighty National team of Yugoslavia, where some of the escorts, a couple of journalists a few others in the Greek delegation, were Secret Service agents and informed Athens to expose leftist footballers communicating their conversations.
Leandros Symeonidis talked about when the Danes scored seven goals against our team, in 1960, since the Greek delegation had previously indulged in all kinds of activities that were legal in Denmark: binge drinking, free love, dope and gambling. That was how Symeonidis jokingly interpreted that a decent score of 4-2 in the 89th minute, became a humiliating 7-2 in the 92nd minute, by an exhausted team...
The great chapter, where all the major players talk about how the National team was disqualified in Mexico, in 1970.
Kostas Aidiniou talked about his injury in the match against France in 1973. He did not want to be carried off the field on a stretcher, in order not scare his beloved mother as the match was broadcast live.
Mimis Papaioannou, with his exquisite sense of humor, talked about the two draw matches, in 1974 -75, against West Germany, who were the world champions, and added "...the unruly and utterly crazy way in which we played completely annihilated them...".
Antoniadis discussed the humiliating defeat against Malta in 1975. Vasilis Hatzipanagis talked about the only one time he played for the National team, in 1976. Alketas Panagoulias and Vassilis Konstantinou disagreed over a penalty kick that cost the 1-0 defeat against the Netherlands during the European Championship, in 1980.
Moreover, Nikos Sarganis talked about the unbelievable match in Copenhagen. Christos Archontidis and Thomas Mavros, each presented his own take of their terrible clash, in 1983.
Manolas and Panagoulias referred to the 1994 fiasco in the US, in contrasting frames of mind and, of course, Nicopolidis, Karagounis and Tsartas recounted the miracle that was the championship of 2004.
These are only few among a multitude of great stories.