Nicolas Anelka Handed 18-Match Suspension For World Cup Antics

French forward Nicolas Anelka's international career may be over after the French Football Federation announced punishments in the wake of this summer's World Cup. Anelka was one of four players suspended, his sentence by far the most severe. The 31-year-old striker has been handed an 18-match ban.

Patrice Evra has been given a five match suspension. Franck Ribery's punishment will be three matches. Jeremy Toulalan is suspended for one match.

Anelka's suspension results from his altercation with coach Raymond Domenech at halftime of France's second World Cup match.  The Chelsea player was sent home from South Africa before the third game.

French players staged a boycott of the next training session, a show of support for Anelka.  Identified as leaders of the boycott, Evra, Ribery and Toulalan were handed bans.

Eric Abidal, also said to be one of the leaders of the protest, escaped suspension.

France begins qualifying for Euro 2012 on September 3 when they host Belarus.

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