I don't know about that, but I certainly feel Friday night in Cape Town was maybe England's Iran.
Time to revisit this, I think. Perhaps not Iran but this tournament certainly SHOULD be their 1978. Travelling on a wave of false optimism, fed by a coach who believed (at least in public) his players were far better than they actually were, a humiliating defeat, one encouraging but ultimately meaningless victory, exiting in the last 16 amid stories of squad disharmony and a press turned feral in calling for the manager's head. It all adds to the Iran/Algeria comparison.
I think it is actually a good thing for England that they were humiliated rather than just beaten. The latter would have allowed them to make Frank Lampard a reverse 21st century Geoff Hurst and add this failure to the long list of others which have (allegedly) been the result of cheating foreigners, dodgy officials and poor managers.
If they don't sit down after this and think long and hard about their position in the pecking order then they never will, thus dooming every future squad to the unrealistic expectations of being potential tournament winners when there is absolutely nothing to back it up.
There is only one way for England to have any chance of winning the World Cup in the foreseeable future and that's the way they did it the last time. Tournament at home, good management, decent players on the whole but with a couple of outstanding ones to call on when it counts.
They might be able to get all of those except the last because there is no one on the horizon and pity any if there were. They'd be subject to the Gazza/Beckham/Rooney/Walcott press treatment and a media gaze that grows more intense each passing year.
As the press rather belatedly seems to have recognised (it took them ten years to realise they didn't have an international goalkeeper worth the name) this is the end of the line for the non-performers. With the exception of Rooney their big name players will be too old come 2014 and in any case the odds against any European country winning in Brazil are high, let alone one with no tournament pedigree.
There is no one coming through the ranks as Trevor Brooking admits. The future is dim. It may even be that in the years ahead people begin to hark back to the 'Golden Age' of Sven-Goran Eriksson when England not only qualified with ease they reached the last eight in three tournaments running - the only England manager to do so since Alf Ramsey!
I hope they just don't opt for the 'blame the manager' option. Capello arrived with a huge reputation and great track record. But, as Marcello Lippi also found out, these don't count for much if the material you have to work with can't be changed through judicious use of the transfer market.
Capello though did make mistakes. Not knowing who his best keeper was, chopping and changing in a seeming panic (Carragher is the man to replace Ferdinand/King, no he isn't, yes he is, no he isn't, Heskey must play alongside Rooney, no, throw on Crouch, maybe Defoe, Crouch again, nah, back to Heskey, Milner must play, no, get him off now, Milner must play).
You might not be able to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear but you should at least produce a half-edible pork pie.
Clever bloke though. Not just scrapping the 'sacking' clause of his contract BEFORE the World Cup but his ability to speak and understand perfect English when things are going well yet change to using an interpreter when things go awry, thus giving him more time to prepare his answers (aside - I was told many years ago the best way to cover a poor interview response was to swear loudly into the microphone, thus forcing the reporter to rewind the tape and ask the question again, giving you thirty seconds to prepare a response. Tip: not recommended for live interviews)
I do think there is something to the idea that being cooped up together for weeks on end had an effect. Some countries seem to take to this no problem but as France, not just this time, and Holland, in the past, have shown, having over twenty young men kept in purdah for weeks on end is not ideal. Anyone who has experienced anything similar will tell you the same story - best friends become worst enemies, trivial incidents balloon out of all proportion, frustrations develop, factions emerge. So the idea that the martinet Capello was a refreshing change from the past when away for a few days in qualifiers but a nightmare when stuck with for six weeks seems plausible to me.
That said, other countries seem to cope. Germany, Brazil, Argentina, never seem to be plagued by internal discontent while it never sees to be far away from the French, Dutch & Irish.
Perhaps players from countries with an authoritarian tradition prosper in these circumstances? In any case it must be a difficult job to tell a multi-millionaire in his mid-twenties that. no, he can't go for a pint, a drive or play any sport which might cause injury.
Maintaining focus and discipline for weeks on end is not easy no matter who is in charge or the approach adopted.
So, either Capello struggles on, as Ally McLeod did back in 1978, just one bad defeat away from dismissal. Or England turn to someone new. Names mentioned are Roy Hodgson - good club record and also international one but in his 60s and more likely to steady the ship rather than make real progress. The 'Ron Greenwood' option for the 21st century. Or Harry Redknapp or Sam Allardyce. God help them if either. It would be back to the 'we're English, they don't like it up 'em' mentality in a minute.
Perhaps they could take a leaf out of another country's book and look at an appointment which seemed ridiculous at the time but is working out fine right now - Diego Armando Maradona.
I don't mean the man himself - though that would be fun - but that type of appointment. A national hero, most skilled player of his generation, never out of the headlines for long, even after his playing career has ended. A man who can overcome the greatest of adversity, from weight problems to substance abuse and dependency and can ignore decades of scornful headlines. A man with a poor record in club management at a low level but who can respond to his country's call with gusto
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Step forward England's Maradona - Paul John Gascoigne!