The half-time whistle goes at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in South Africa on June 17 2010.
France and Mexico’s players walk down the tunnel after a goalless first 45 minutes in their second group stage match at the 2010 World Cup.
The French – who were runners-up four years previously – have failed to find the net in 135 minutes of football at the tournament, having drawn their opening game against Uruguay 0-0.
Striker Nicolas Anelka was leading the attack that day, and by half-time, the man who had won the Golden Boot with Chelsea in 2009, had gone 429 minutes without recording a shot on target for Les Bleus.
When the teams re-emerged 15 minutes later, Anelka had been replaced by André-Pierre Gignac, as the French looked for a goal to help them progress to the last 16.
But it was the Mexicans who ran out winners, with Manchester United-bound Javier Hernandez beating the offside trap and rounding goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to make it 1-0, before Cuauhtémoc Blanco scored from the spot 11 minutes from time to seal the victory.
Afterwards coach Raymond Domenech admitted his side needed a miracle to make it through to the next round.
Hours later though, news broke of an extraordinary confrontation between Domenech and Anelka at half-time.
After making their way back to the dressing room, coach Raymond Domenech reportedly criticised his striker for straying out of position during the first half.
L'Equipe reported that Anelka retorted: "Va te faire enculer, sale fils de pute,” which translated means: “Go f*** yourself you son of a whore," something Anelka vehemently denies.
The striker has not denied criticising the tactics used during the half-time row, but never wanted to insult Domenench.
Either way, Anelka was hooked, demoted to the bench for the second half.
Nicolas Anelka and France
Anelka’s relationship with the French national team had always been tumultuous, something that started when he missed out on a place in the World Cup winning squad in 1998.
After being part of the victorious Euro 2000 squad, he rarely featured between 2001 and 2007 as he bounced from club to club around Europe, including Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City and Fenerbahçe.
In 2002 he angered then-coach Jacques Santini after turning down a late call-up for a friendly.
After that he said the coach would have to ‘get on his knees and beg’ before he returned.
After Euro 2004 Raymond Domenech became coach of the French national team, but he proved far from popular.
His squad selections constantly baffled players, pundits and fans alike, with rumours suggesting he selected teams on the basis of their star signs.
He denied that but commented: “All parameters have to be considered and I have added one by saying there is astrology involved.”
France reached the 2006 World Cup final, but many credited the senior players – particularly talisman Zinedine Zidane – with that run.
2010 was Anelka’s World Cup debut – he missed out in 2002 and in 2006 was overlooked by Domenech, a decision he branded “difficult to understand”.
After the drab goalless draw with Uruguay, Zidane lashed out, saying Domenech was “not a coach” and that “there is no teamwork”.
Reaction – how French football imploded
The reaction to the half-time incident tore the French national side apart.
The Chelsea striker missed the following day’s training and was told to publicly apologise by French Football Federation (FFF) president Jean-Pierre Escalettes.
Anelka refused and was booted out of the squad.
In a statement the FFF described his half-time remarks as “totally unacceptable,” adding: "Faced by the refusal of the player to publicly apologise, he (Escalettes) took the decision in total agreement with the coach and the official members of the delegation present to exclude Nicolas Anelka from the squad."
Anelka was told of the decision in a meeting which was attended by captain Patrice Evra, who accused a “traitor” within the camp of leaking the story to L'Equipe.
French football was then plunged into further chaos when the remaining 21-man squad went on strike.
In full view of the world’s press, Evra was embroiled in heated argument with fitness coach Robert Duverne and had to be pulled away as Domenech intervened.
Duverne stormed off furiously and threw his stopwatch across the pitch while the players retreated to the team coach for a showdown meeting with Domenech.
The players released a statement expressing their opposition to Anelka's exclusion and for the way the bust-up was revealed.
Their statement was, bizarrely, read to the media by Domenech himself.
"We regret the incident at half-time of the France v Mexico match, but we regret even more the divulging of an event which was only the squad's business and was part and parcel of the life of a top-level team," the players said.
"The FFF did not at any point try to protect the squad.
"It took a decision based solely on facts reported by the press, without consulting the players."
The French media poured scorn on the mutinous squad, saying the team had “shamed us all” and “each day, the Blues set new standards of unacceptable behaviour”.
Even France's President Nicolas Sarkozy was asked about it.
Captain Evra was rounded on, with L’Equipe saying: "Patrice Evra definitively showed that he confused the role of captain with being a leader of a gang.
FFF managing director Jean-Louis Valentin said he was “quitting” as a result of the “scandal”.
“They don't want to train. It's unacceptable. As for me, it's over. I'm leaving the federation. I'm sickened and disgusted."
Two months later the FFF banned Anelka for 18 international matches over his conduct in South Africa.
Well, he didn’t even show up to the hearing, and later said the suspension had “no relevance whatsoever” because he considered his international career already over.
He added: "These people are clowns. I'm dying with laughter.”
Evra was banned for five international matches by the FFF, with other players receiving shorter banishments.
Afterwards, a statement from the French players’ union suggested the players had paid the price for their coach’s failings.
"Because they are disproportionate, the sanctions have no value. Instead, they will impede the progress of [replacement coach] Laurent Blanc," a statement said.
"The officials who voted for Raymond Domenech to stay in the job in 2008 went unpunished even though everyone knows that they were the real culprits."
The FFF also withheld bonuses which were due to be paid to players, after Les Bleus finished bottom of their World Cup group.
Anelka has always denied saying those words to Domenech and attempted to sue L'Equipe for libel, an action he lost in 2011.
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