Portugal is a heavy favourite to make it back-to-back victories on Saturday and progress as group winners but Santos was impressed by the efforts of tournament outsiders New Zealand in its battling 2-1 loss to Mexico.
"We certainly did not feel nervous, " he said.
They also went on to lose their second game in the competition on Thursday night as Mexico beat them by a 2-1 scoreline amid ugly scenes.
Things remain tight in Group A before Saturday's final round.
But a combination of keeper Igor Akinfeev - on his 100th appearance for Russian Federation - and a commitment by the home side to take the game to Portugal in the second-half, made for an exciting finish.
Their tournament is not over, though Mexico in their last group game will be tricky.
This was Ronaldo's seventy-fourth goal for his country.
Hoping to throw off the 95-ranked New Zealand team, Mexico's infamous head coach, Juan Carlos Osorio, made some drastic changes to El Tri's lineup leading up to the big game by switching out eight of his starting players.
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The two-way Bruins star beat out Anaheims Ryan Kesler and joined Bob Gainey as the only players to win the Selke four times. John Tortorella is the Jack Adams Award victor after leading the Blue Jackets to the best season in club history.
Speaking ahead of the match against New Zealand in St Petersburg, Santos chuckled his way though a question from a Brazilian journalist asking whether his team were now better to watch before delivering a withering riposte. Twelve months on from his European Championship success, Ronaldo plainly has his eyes on the right to call himself one of the world's team of continental champions.
He scored his 20th global goal - and New Zealand's first for 334 minutes - when latching onto a deflected through ball from Clayton Lewis.
New Zealand played on, went down the other end and almost scored, with the Mexicans urging their opponents to stop the game.
Portugal took the lead when Bruno Alves floated a cross to the far post, where Ronaldo had the simple task of heading home. "We play away from home, against the host team, with a lot of support from their fans, and fighting for the qualification".
Salcedo injured his shoulder while falling in an off-the-ball tangle with Chris Wood, who angered the Mexicans by shooting while his opponent was incapacitated on the turf.
Osorio said the All Whites should have stopped playing at that point so the injury could be assessed.
Fernando Santos' men now meet New Zealand on Saturday in their final game of the group stage, while Russian Federation face Mexico on matchday three.
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