YouTube is to stream live video of all 26 matches from next month’s hotly anticipated Copa America football tournament, following the Google-owned site’s experience providing online cricket coverage from the Indian Premier League in 2010 and 2011.

Thanks to a new partnership between Google and Copa America’s commercial rights holder Traffic Sports, games from the knock-out competition - featuring the 12 best national football teams in Latin America and the world’s best player in Argentina’s Lionel Messi - will be now be streamed on demand online throughout July.

"This is a phenomenal opportunity, said Rodrigo Velloso, director content partnership, Latin America and US Hispanics, Google. “We are delighted to bring all the action from the 2011 Copa America to the YouTube community across more than 50 Countries from the Copa America host country Argentina, to the US and European football enthusiasts following their favourite premier league players.

“Full-length sports content has been a big focus area for us and we're excited to partner with Traffic Sports to bring Live action from Copa America to fans on YouTube and set a new benchmark in distribution of sports content online," added Mr Velloso.

Online video streaming will be available to viewers in 54 countries at - starting with the opening match, between hosts Argentina and Bolivia, which kicks off at La Plata at 21.45 local time (0:45 GMT) on 1 July. Match highlights will also be available on YouTube.

“This partnership builds on the success we have seen from the live-streaming of the last two Indian Premier League seasons which collectively generated over 120 million views," concluded Mr Velloso.

The Copa America tournament runs in Argentina until 24 July 2011.