Four of us went to lunch here in midtown today, and you had to wait for a table at a couple of Second Avenue joints where you can usually stroll in for a casual club sandwich. The reason: overtime, Germany and Argentina. Now, I'm not a big-time soccer fan like Steve Gilliard but I do occasionally follow the exploits (or disasters) of Liverpool, across the Mersey from where the artist's family hails from. And when World Cup rolls around, I tune in as convenient. (Though I've never been the same since Columbia's 1983 bid to win the national collegiate title in soccer was thwarted by Indiana, 1-0, on a goal by Pat McCauley 2 minutes 43 seconds into the second overtime). So we're sitting in this packed Mexican joint, and the crowd is roaring - overtime and suds always creates a noise level around these places. Every couple of minutes the patrons erupt in a scat-like rhythm section, "uh-oh, uh-uh-uh-oooooooh!" Another chance missed. This crowd probably favors Germany, but just barely. Then they go to penalty kicks to decide who advances. This has always seemed insane to me, like flipping a coin in the 10th inning of a World Series game. Germany's goalie Jens Lehmann comes up big and stops two shots. So Germany advances and the local fans erupt (not in the bar, in the stadium; in the bar, people quiet down and go back to work). But it's a tainted victory to this American sports fan, like asking two pitchers to throw five baseballs each through a tire rope-swing after nine innings in the post-season. Two halfs, two overtimes, a massive investment of sweat and blood and energy and strategy. Then the slot machine. This and the lousy look-at-me refereeing has to change. Let 'em play on!