News of all that's transpired on and off the football field
Germany's new-look team made a promising return to the international stage with a 1-1 draw against Serbia in a friendly on Wednesday, showing signs of improvement following a disastrous 2018.
The Germans, knocked out of the World Cup in the group stage and relegated in the Nations League last year, had only one player from their 2014 World Cup victory in the starting line-up and their oldest outfield player was aged 24.
More aggressive and quicker than in recent games, with Kai Havertz, Julian Brandt and Leroy Sane playing behind forward Timo Werner, the hosts needed only three minutes to get a shot on target with Havertz firing the ball at Serbia keeper Marko Dmitrovic following a quick passing move.
Coach Joachim Loew sent world champions Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng and Thomas Mueller into international retirement in a surprise decision last week as his team prepare to launch their Euro 2020 qualification campaign against the Netherlands on Sunday.
Serbia went forward after 11 minutes and their first corner bounced off the back of two players to land perfectly for Luka Jovic to head in for his first international goal.
The 21-year-old, who has scored 22 goals in 35 appearances for Eintracht Frankfurt this season, is likely to be among the biggest transfer targets this summer, with Real Madrid and Barcelona among clubs reportedly interested.
Werner twice went close to an equaliser before Serbia, who won promotion in the Nations League after an undefeated run in their group, wasted a chance when Adem Ljajic fired a shot over the bar.
But the Germans kept their foot firmly on the gas and wasted several chances in the second half before substitute Leon Goretzka grabbed a deserved equaliser in the 69th minute.
Zardes scores late as US beats Ecuador
Gyasi Zardes's 81st minute goal led the United States to a 1-0 victory over Ecuador in Orlando on Thursday, the team's third successive win under new head coach Gregg Berhalter.
Zardes shot from the top of the box deflected off an Ecuadorian defender and then sailed over the head of goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez.
The US dominated possession and had some good opportunities but were unable to finish against the stout Ecuadorian defense until the center forward's first international goal since the Copa America quarter-final against Ecuador in 2016 broke the deadlock.
Berhalter, a former national team defender who played at two World Cups, took over from interim head coach Dave Sarachan in December after five seasons with Major League Soccer side Columbus Crew.
Van Marwijk appointed coach of United Arab Emirates
Former Netherlands, Saudi Arabia and Australia coach Bert van Marwijk has been appointed to succeed Alberto Zaccheroni in charge of the United Arab Emirates.
The UAE FA announced the appointment of the 66-year-old late on Wednesday, seven weeks after Italian Zaccheroni departed when the hosts were knocked out of the Asian Cup by Qatar in the semi-finals.
Van Marwijk took the Dutch to the World Cup final in 2010 and, more importantly perhaps for the Emiratis, also led Saudi Arabia to qualification for last year's finals, their first trip to soccer's showpiece event since 2006.
The former Feyenoord, Borussia Dortmund and Hamburg SV manager was let go by the Saudis before the finals after a row over terms and conditions, however, and he ended up leading Australia to a first-round exit in Russia.
The UAE has only qualified for the World Cup finals once in 1990 but could end up hosting some matches in the 2022 tournament if a political and economic rift with Qatar is healed and FIFA decides to hold a 48-team tournament.
Adelaide United player provisionally banned for doping
Adelaide United player Ken Ilso has been provisionally suspended from the A-League after failing a doping test, Football Federation Australia said on Friday.
The governing body said the Danish 32-year-old had returned a positive test for Benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, which is prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Code and FFA's anti-doping policy.
The attacking midfielder was tested by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority on Jan. 27.
"Mr Larsen (Ilso) is prohibited from participating in the A-League and all other WADA compliant sports," the FFA said in a statement.
"Mr Larsen (Ilso) now has the opportunity to have his B-sample analysed before FFA takes steps to issue him with an Anti-Doping Rule Violation notice."
Ilso said he was awaiting the result of his B-sample in a media release issued by the players' union, Professional Footballers Australia.
"Until these results are received I cannot make any further comments," he said.
"I would like to thank the PFA for their support in this testing and frustrating situation.
"To our fans, please ensure the focus is on the team. It is a critical time in our season and they need you most of all."
Adelaide are sixth in the 10-team A-League.
Weapons found on PSG fans' coach before women's match
Weapons including knives and knuckle dusters were found on a coach carrying Paris St Germain fans to a women's Champions League match away to Chelsea on Thursday, British police said.
There were also "sporadic incidents of disorder" at two London railway stations, the police said, and they were called to investigate reports of fans causing criminal damage at the match venue in the suburb of Kingston.
"Those involved were identified and when they attended the Kingsmeadow stadium this evening they were stopped," the Metropolitan Police said in a statement to the BBC.
"A coach they travelled in was searched and weapons, including knives and knuckle dusters, were recovered along with Class A drugs."
One man was arrested for drug possession and the rest escorted from the area.
Chelsea won the quarter-final first-leg match 2-0.
Al Romaithi withdraws from AFC presidential election
Mohammed Khalfan Al Romaithi ended his attempt to unseat Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa when he pledged his support for the Bahraini on Thursday.
Al Romaithi, from the United Arab Emirates, had sought to oust Sheikh Salman from the role he has held since 2013 when the AFC has its presidential election in Kuala Lumpur on April 6, standing under the slogan "Making Football Fair" and aiming to raise more than $300 million to develop the game in Asia.
But Al Romaithi, who heads up the UAE's General Authority for Sport, said he would now back Sheikh Salman after the pair met in Abu Dhabi.
"I would like to thank Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa for his initiative and his visit to the UAE and I would like to stress that when I decided to run for the presidency it wasn't because I was aiming for the position itself," Al Romaithi said in a statement.
"The main reason was to put Asian football where it deserves to be: among the other continents through a programme that reflects my vision on how to develop the game in the biggest continent in the world.
"I was happy that Sheikh Salman wants to take advantage of this programme and aim to achieve it. Therefore, I will spare no effort in supporting him in order to reach this goal."
Al Romaithi was one of two challengers for the most senior role in Asian football, with Qatar's Saoud Al Mohannadi also due to stand. Sheikh Salman, who is seeking to win a third AFC election, made an unsuccessful bid to become FIFA president in 2015.