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Morten Olsen to end 16 years as Denmark coach

Morten Olsen has announced that he will step down as Denmark coach next summer after a spell spanning 16 years and four – possibly five by then – major finals.

Morten Olsen at UEFA EURO 2012
Morten Olsen at UEFA EURO 2012 ©Getty Images

Morten Olsen has announced he is stepping down as Denmark coach after UEFA EURO 2016, ending a 35-year association with the national team.

"After 19 years as a player and 16 years as coach, it is an emotionally delicate decision to take," said Olsen. "I feel good about it, and there are two reasons for that: I do not want the distraction of people discussing 'is he staying or is he going?'. And the DBU will get more time to find a replacement."

Olsen, who won a then-Denmark record 102 caps between 1970 and 1989, was appointed coach in 2000. He has led the side to four major tournaments since, the best performance coming at UEFA EURO 2004 when they reached the quarter-finals before bowing out to the Czech Republic. Denmark are on course for a fifth, too, as they top UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying Group I.

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"Now we can all focus on what it is really about – qualifying for the final tournament in France," the 65-year-old continued. "I am looking forward to the last 16 months. We have a fantastic spirit in the team, and a fantastic staff around the team. Everyone knows it is not a one-man show."

Danish Football Association (DBU) president Jesper Møller added: "We say goodbye with respect and recognition for the efforts he has made. I like his passion and commitment – and I like that we have also had our discussions. He wanted to make this decision in good time. That is not going to weaken his commitment at all."

Morten Olsen's Denmark career
1970 – three weeks after his U21 debut, he makes senior bow v Norway
1981 – becomes seventh Dane to win 50 caps
1983 – named Denmark captain, a position Olsen holds for remaining 49 games
1984 – skippers Denmark to semis of EURO '84, their first major finals since 1964
1986 – captains the team at their first FIFA World Cup, reaching second round
1989 – becomes first player to achieve 100 appearances for Denmark; retires in June
2000 – succeeds Bo Johansson as Denmark coach, assisted by Michael Laudrup
2002 – Denmark get to World Cup round of 16 before defeat by England
2004 – guides Danes to the last eight at UEFA EURO 2004
2009 – beats Sweden in 100th game as Denmark boss to book World Cup spot
2012 – Denmark defeat Netherlands in UEFA EURO 2012 opener before bowing out
2015 – announces he will stand down as coach after UEFA EURO 2016

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