By Theo Ruizenaar
ROTTERDAM, May 6 (Reuters) - Former Netherlands soccer coach
George Knobel, who took the side to third place in the 1976
European Championship, died on Saturday aged 89, one of his
former clubs Ajax Amsterdam said in a statement.
Knobel coached Ajax during the 1973-74 season but was sacked
before it ended when he said in an interview that the club, who
had been European champions in 1971, 1972 and 1973, would be
relegated through "booze and women".
In fact they finished the season in third place behind
Feyenoord and Twente after being Dutch champions for the
previous two seasons.
Although he was not at Ajax for long, Knobel oversaw a 6-1
aggregate victory over AC Milan in the European Supercup that
season when Ajax overturned a 1-0 defeat in the first leg to
beat Milan 6-0 at home.
Knobel took over the Dutch side after they finished as
runners-up to West Germany in the 1974 World Cup final and led
them to third place in the Euros in the former Yugoslavia two
Although they lost 3-1 to eventual champions Czechoslovakia
in the semi-final, they beat host nation Yugoslavia 3-2 in
Zagreb in the playoff and that remained their best showing in
the tournament until they won it in 1988.
He also had spells as the coach of MVV, Roosendaal,
Beerschot in Belgium and in Hong Kong.
(Editing by Mike Collett)
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