Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Mentor of Denmark's memorable Euro title dies
by Ridge Mahoney, February 13th, 2014 3:15PM

MOST READ
TAGS:  denmark, european championship, obituary

MOST COMMENTED

[OBITUARY] The man who steered his country’s national team to one of the most stunning accomplishments in soccer history has died. Richard Moller Nielsen, architect of Denmark’s incredible run to the 1992 European Championship, died Thursday morning at the age of 76.

Moller Nielsen had been in ill health since undergoing surgery for a brain tumor in July. He spent much of the summer bedridden at his home in Kerteminde before returning to hospital care. Shortly before Christmas he was transferred to the Fyn Hospice, where he died.


He coached many Danish clubs after finishing his seven-year playing career, during which he earned two caps, in 1962 with his hometown team, Odense. He coached Denmark’s U-21 team and worked as first-team assistant before taking over the national team in 1990 and leading it to glory two years later.

Denmark stunned the world by winning the 1992 Euro title as a last-minute replacement for the former Yugoslavia, which was removed from the competition by UEFA because of United Nations sanctions imposed upon the Yugoslavian government. The Danes had finished second to Yugoslavia in the qualifying competition and once named by UEFA as Yugoslavia's replacement, players cut short their vacations and offseason plans to assemble in time for the tournament hosted by Sweden.

In group play, it edged out England and France to finish second behind the home team and set up an epic semifinal against the Netherlands. The Danes prevailed on penalty kicks, 5-4, after a thrilling 2-2 tie, and took the field confidently in the final June 26 in Gothenberg. World champion Germany fell, 2-0, to set off delirious celebrations across Denmark and prompt memorable tributes from soccer officials and media members. In the land of fairy-tale author Hans Christian Andersen -- who like Moller Nielsen was born in Odense -- fantasy came true.

A massive party greeted the players upon their return.

“I think, beyond anything, it really sank in when we were in Copenhagen in the town hall for the celebrations with the rest of Denmark,” star goalie Peter Schmeichel told uefa.com two years ago. “That was unbelievable, truly unbelievable. At this point you're thinking: ‘Christ, we actually did this, it's not a dream.’”

Denmark failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup in the USA, yet Moeller Nielsen was knighted as Knight 1st Degree of the Order of the Dannebrog in 1995. He stepped down in 1996, and coached Finland and Israel before finishing up his coaching career with Kolding FC in 2003.

Allan Hansen, president of the Danish soccer association (DBU), said: “You would have to go a long way to find as good and nice a person as Richard. As president of the DBU, I can only say that Richard’s significance to Danish soccer is enormous and that we have him to thank for the European Championship – the biggest achievement in the history of Danish sport.”

Richard Moller Nielsen is survived by his wife Jonna, children Birgitte, Christian and Tommy, and six grandchildren.


No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Three big storylines to follow in Czech Republic    
[USA-CZECH REPUBLIC] Jurgen Klinsmann will send out the youngest team of his tenure as U.S. national ...
What They're Saying: Kristi Lefebvre    
"Right now, we play multiple games in a 3-4 day span which makes it essential to ...
Molino hat trick powers Orlando City to 7-0 rout    
[USL PRO: Week 24] Kevin Molino added to his USL PRO scoring record with a hat ...
D.C. United and Galaxy close in on Sounders    
[MLS: Sunday] D.C. United opened up a four-point lead in the Eastern Conference with a 2-0 ...
Guzan's Aston Villa climbs into third place    
[AMERICANS ABROAD] Brad Guzan's Aston Villa beat Hull City, 2-1, to move into third place in ...
A-Rod and Holiday lead FC Kansas City to title    
[NWSL: Final] U.S. national team stars Amy Rodriguez and Lauren Holiday teamed up for both goals ...
FC Edmonton ends Minnesota's unbeaten streak    
[NASL: Fall Week 8] FC Edmonton ended Minnesota United FC's 11-game unbeaten streak with a 2-1 ...
Dempsey hits dozen mark with shin volley    
[VIDEO PICK: Golazo] Clint Dempsey scored his 11th goal of the season, and 12th since he ...
Turmoil in Toronto leads to shakeup    
[MLS SPOTLIGHT] Less than 24 hours after an embarrassing 3-0 home loss to New England and ...
What They're Saying: Steven Gerrard    
"If he plays like that for us every week and continues to improve, he could be ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives