BARCELONA (Reuters) - Hungary and Montenegro reached the men's water polo final at the world championships on Thursday after beating Olympic gold medalists Croatia and title holders Italy respectively on Thursday.
A youthful Hungary side edged Croatia 11-10 in a thrilling contest while Montenegro brushed aside the Italians 10-8 to celebrate a second successive shock win after they knocked out neighbors Serbia in the quarter-finals.
Marton Szivos and Marton Vamos scored three goals each and Denes Varga added two as the revamped Hungarians, who boast a total of 23 European, world and Olympic titles, overturned an early 3-2 deficit and held the upper hand for the rest of the match.
Croatia forced late drama when they scored three goals without reply to draw level at 10-10 but Varga hit Hungary's winner to reward a superb individual performance by goalkeeper Viktor Nagy, who saved two penalties and a barrage of stinging shots.
Still buzzing after overpowering Serbia, Montenegro raced into a 3-0 lead against Italy and never looked back as the advantage increased to 7-2 midway through the third quarter.
Italy had no reply for Montenegro's perimeter shooting with Mladjan Janovic and Aleksandar Ivovic unleashing some spectacular long-range efforts to delight a small but vociferous band of their supporters on a warm evening.
A late flurry by the Italians only salvaged some pride after the Montenegrins romped 10-4 ahead in the final period.
Croatia and Italy will contest the bronze medal match before Hungary and Montenegro meet in what promises to be a mouth-watering final on Saturday.
(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic in Belgrade; editing by Ken Ferris)