A 1-0 defeat by Norway in Oslo on Saturday in their latest preparatory match means South Africa have now lost seven of their last eight internationals and show little sign of becoming anything but a minor sideshow at next year's finals.
Santana said he was still confident in his position and of making progress on delivering a competitive side.
But captain Aaron Mokoena said the team were now desperate to turn around their fortunes.
The string of unconvincing performances, plus a change of leadership in the South Africa Football Association, could spell the end for Santana, the 60-year-old Brazilian who has lost half of his 26 games in charge since taking the job in May 2008.
New SAFA president Kirsten Nematandani promised to fire the coach in his pre-election manifesto but since winning the poll last month has merely appointed a group of three South African coaches to assess whether Santana is making any headway.
Saturday's performance against Norway would not have helped his cause with South Africa creating few chances and being fortunate not to have been more severely punished for several defensive lapses.
But Santana said of the friendly: "These matches are designed for training. When we get to the World Cup it will be a different game."
Portsmouth defender Mokoena, closing in on 100 caps for his country, told Reuters: "It's been difficult take all these defeats. All of us are angry about not getting results."
South Africa meet Iceland in Reykjavik on Tuesday and have two more matches this year in November at home to Japan and Jamaica.
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