Coach of Denmark's Euro '92 champs dies

Associated Press
FILE - In this June 15, 2000 file photo, Danish soccer coach Richard Moller-Nielsen reacts with Danish supporters during the European Soccer Championships, in Rotterdam. Richard Moller Nielsen, who led the Danish football team to its first major title in 1992 and later coached Finland and Israel, has died. He was 76. (AP Photo/Polfot, Finn Frandsen, File) DENMARK OUT

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Richard Moller Nielsen, who led Denmark to its greatest football triumph at the 1992 European Championship, died on Thursday. He was 76.

Moller Nielsen died after a nine-month illness, the Danish Football Association said without further details.

Nicknamed 'Ricardo,' he coached Denmark from 1990-96, leading the Danes to their first and only major glory at Euro '92 in Sweden.

Moller Nielsen's achievement was even more remarkable because he had only 10 days to prepare his side, as a replacement for war-torn Yugoslavia, which was banned because of U.N. sanctions.

Denmark finished second in its group, beat the Netherlands on penalties in the semifinals, and shocked then-world champion Germany 2-0 in the final.

"He was perhaps the greatest coach we ever had in Danish football," John Jensen, who scored the first goal in the final, told

"It was a great honor to play under him. He made the right decisions at the right times. He was just the coach we needed in the situation we were in - where we had not prepared at all."

After Denmark, Moller Nielsen coached Finland in 1996-99, and Israel in 2000-02.