#51 & #52: Tim Brown and Leo Bertos

Wellington College classmates, 1994-1998

12 years ago Tim and Leo were two football-obsessed kids in a rugby-obsessed school. In a country where following and playing anything other than rugby is almost a crime they stuck out like sore thumbs, but they were serious even in those days: working their arses off while everyone around them tried to tell them their dream was impossible.

But right now that dream is coming true, and Tim and Leo are still laughing in the face of a world that tries to tell them what to do. They're part of a New Zealand squad that qualified for the Football World Cup ranked 78th in the world, that was meant to make up the numbers, get thrashed, be glad to be there, smile and go home quietly. But I know Tim and Leo, they're fighters. They'll push and play and stand toe to toe with anyone in the world, and that's exactly what they've done, holding Slovakia and the big name stars of Italy to hard fought draws.

I'm not usually a nationalistic type of guy but right now these two, and their whole team, have me feeling so proud of being a New Zealander. They make me feel like I can do anything.