Photographers' Blog

Suarez v Chiellini – capturing the moment

Uruguay’s Luis Suarez has been banned for a record nine international soccer matches for biting the Italian player Giorgio Chiellini during a World Cup game. Reuters photographer Tony Gentile captured a key picture, showing the marks on Chiellini’s shoulder after the incident. Here, he describes covering the match.

Italy's Giorgio Chiellini shows his shoulder, claiming he was bitten by Uruguay's Luis Suarez, during their 2014 World Cup Group D soccer match at the Dunas arena in Natal

Recife, Brazil

By Tony Gentile

The World Cup is one of the most important events we cover as photographers, drawing the attention of fans from all over the world.

A couple of days ago I witnessed one of the big moments in this big story. I was covering Italy v. Uruguay and it felt almost just like any other match, with a little added interest because my own national team, Italy, was playing.

The match was rather boring, and normally an ugly game produces ugly pictures.

But in the second half, while the score was still 0-0, there was some strange contact between Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini and Uruguay’s Luis Suarez. I was following the action elsewhere on the pitch, but I saw them both fall down.

They both looked like they were in pain, and I started to take pictures. I followed the story until Chiellini reacted angrily right in front of me, pulling down his shirt to reveal his shoulder. I shot some photos and, for me, the story was finished.

Did he bite?

Miami, Florida

By Russell Boyce

The shout went up “He’s bitten him! Suarez has just bitten him!”

It was the World Cup match between Uruguay and Italy, and both teams were playing for a place in the last 16.

The game was tense, with pictures streaming in from the match in Brazil to the remote picture-editing center we have set up in Miami.

A television replay and it looked pretty certain that Uruguay’s Luis Suarez had bitten Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder in an off-the-ball incident. But you can never tell 100 percent when looking at TV.