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Dutch football mourns George Knobel


George Knobel, who coached AFC Ajax for a season before taking charge of the Netherlands at the 1976 UEFA European Championship, has passed away at the age of 89.

George Knobel (right) with the 1973/74 Ajax squad
George Knobel (right) with the 1973/74 Ajax squad ©Getty Images

Dutch football is mourning the passing of former AFC Ajax and Netherlands coach George Knobel, who has died at the age of 89.

Knobel was born in Roosendaal on 10 December 1922. After coaching VV Baronie and MVV Maastricht, he succeeded Stefan Kovács as Ajax coach following the Amsterdam club's three successive European Champion Clubs' Cups in 1971, 1972 and 1973.

In his only season in charge, Knobel guided Ajax to UEFA Super Cup glory against AC Milan. The Dutch outfit trailed 1-0 from the first leg at San Siro but produced a remarkable display in the return fixture to triumph 6-0 and lift the trophy.

After his spell at Ajax, Knobel took over from Rinus Michels as coach of the Dutch national team. At the 1976 UEFA European Championship a 3-1 semi-final loss to eventual winners Czechoslovakia was followed by a 3-2 success against hosts Yugoslavia in the third-place play-off in Zagreb.

After that, he worked at Maastricht again, as well as RBC Roosendaal, Seiko SA and Beerschot AC.