COPENHAGEN: Richard Moller Nielsen, the man who went from decorating his kitchen to European champion manager in less than a month, has died at 76.

Moller Nielsen was national coach of Denmark when they were recalled into the finals of Euro 92 in Sweden after the exclusion of Yugoslavia on security grounds.

Famously, Moller Nielsen was painting his kitchen when he was told that he needed to pull his players back from their holidays. Denmark, remarkably, went on to win the title after beating Holland on penalties in the semi-finals and then Germany 2-0 in the final in Gothenburg.

Moller Nielsen, whose achievement earned him World Soccer’s World Manager of the Year accolade, had been ill since undergoing an operation for a brain tumour in July last year.

After ending his seven-year playing career with Odense, his hometown club, in 1962, he went on to coach several Danish clubs, as well as the Finland and Israel national teams, in a coaching career that spanned four decades.