Japan is one of thirty-two nations set to compete in the FIFA World Cup, soccer's biggest international tournament, this June. While they're not the favorite to win, they have one key advantage: a team of Pokemon on their side.
Adidas and The Pokemon Company have anointed Pikachu as the mascot for Team Japan in a joint announcement. The popular electric mouse is part of a promotional team that also includes ten other Pokemon: Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow stalwarts Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle, and Meowth, Pokemon X & Y starters Chespin, Froakie and Fennekin, and three additional Pokemon X & Y members: Pancham, Helioptile, and Litleo.
Clockwise from bottom: Pikachu, Squirtle, Litleo, Helioptile, Charmander, Fennekin, Meowth, Froakie, Pancham, Bulbasaur, Chespin
Team Japan begins its World Cup run on June 14th against Cote D'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), followed by matches on June 19th vs. Greece and June 24th vs Colombia. No word yet on whether any of these Pokemon will get called up to the national team in time for the games.