Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Mentor of Denmark's memorable Euro title dies
by Ridge Mahoney, February 13th, 2014 3:15PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

TAGS:  denmark, european championship, obituary


[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 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



Recent Soccer America Daily
What They're Saying: Jake Edwards    
"It'll evolve slightly for some of those teams over the coming seasons, I believe. We'll find ...
MLS Decision Day: What's at stake    
The 2016 Supporters' Shield and the final two playoff berths are on the line on Sunday ...
MLS Countdown: Donovan, Gordon are Galaxy wild cards    
Last weekend Landon Donovan started his first game since coming out of retirement yet it was ...
This week in women's college soccer    
Stanford junior Andi Sullivan and BYU senior Ashley Hatch made their national team debuts with the ...
This week in men's college soccer    
One of the most impressive streaks in recent years in men's college soccer is Denver's 32-game ...
What They're Saying: Sigi Schmid    
"I would love to do that, but there's still this thing, stigma, lack of respect or ...
CCL: FC Dallas rallies to clinch group title    
Needing at least a tie to advance, FC Dallas rallied from 2-0 down after 22 minutes ...
USL Final: Red Bulls II favored, but Rangers are ready    
The USL season concludes Sunday at Red Bull Arena, where the home team, New York Red ...
CCL: Seedings give MLS chance of two teams in semis    
Concacaf pairs the teams for the quarterfinals of the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League by seeding them ...
U.S. U-18 women lose to England, beat France     
The U.S. U-18 women's national team, coached by April Heinrichs, opened the 2016 Women's International Cup ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives