Jerko Marinić Kragić scored twice in the final minutes of the final to win gold ©Getty Images

Hosts Croatia dethroned Hungary as the champions of the Men's European Water Polo Championship after Jerko Marinić Kragić netted twice late on to seal a 10-9 victory in a thrilling final in Split.

It is the country's first European title in 12 years and more than 9,000 people turned out at the Spaladium Arena to watch history unfold.

The two teams were evenly matched throughout the match, drawing three of the four periods.

Konstantin Kharkov opened the scoring for Croatia after five minutes but Gergő Zalánki replied almost instantly to level the match.

Erik Molnar was clinical in the first period, netting two of Hungary's three goals, but they were cancelled out by Rino Burić and Ivan Krapić bagging goals for the hosts.

One of the defining moments came in the second period as Kharkov netted the only goal to take a 4-3 lead at the half.

The Croatians had greater cause to celebrate when Burić extended their lead soon into the third quarter.

Hungary produced some champions resolve with Toni Josef Nemet and Krisztián Manhercz scoring without reply to bring the score to 5-5.

Fuelled by the home crowd, Burić restored Croatia's lead, only for Ákos Konarik to equalise.

The two teams continued to go back and forth but Croatia ensured they held an 8-7 advantage heading into the final period.

Szilárd Jansik struck first to level the score and cause anxiety to spread around the arena.

However, Marinic Kragic netted twice in quick succession to give Croatia a two-goal lead with just two minutes to spare.

Jansik got one back with 32 seconds left but it proved to be too late.

In the bronze medal match, Spain claimed a 7-6 triumph over Italy.

Seven different scorers were on the scoresheet for the Spaniards, including Martina Faměra, Alejandro Bustos Sánchez, Alberto Barroso Macarro and Marc Larumbe.

Álvaro Granados, Bernat Sanahuja and Felipe Perrone were also among the goals.