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Coach Richard Moller Nielsen; guided Denmark to soccer glory

Richard Moller Nielsen (right) celebrated in Gothenburg, Sweden, after Denmark won the 1992 European Championship.

Kim Agersteen/Polfoto via Associated Press

Richard Moller Nielsen (right) celebrated in Gothenburg, Sweden, after Denmark won the 1992 European Championship.

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

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

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

Mr. 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 UN 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 uefa.org.

‘‘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.’’

Mr. Moller Nielsen also coached Finland, from 1996-99, and Israel, in from 2000-02.

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